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ADHD Does Not Exist: The Truth About Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder Hardcover – February 18, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Roughly 11 percent of children and 4 percent of adults in America have been labeled with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But is ADHD even an illness? Physician Saul proposes that ADHD is actually a collection of symptoms caused by other medical conditions: mood disorders (major depression or bipolar disorder), hearing loss, vision problems, substance abuse, hyperthyroidism, sleep problems, absence seizures, learning disabilities, and OCD. According to Saul, a false diagnosis of ADHD delays or prevents initiating appropriate treatment of the actual cause of symptoms like impulsivity and distractibility. Additionally, incorrect diagnoses of ADHD subjects individuals to unnecessary utilization of stimulants. Drugs like Ritalin and Adderall can produce side effects (notably sleep disturbance and decreased appetite) and be abused. Saul believes that medical practitioners, pharmaceutical companies, the media, and patients themselves have engendered an epidemic of misdiagnosed ADHD with serious consequences, including overuse of prescription medication. He writes that ADHD is too often a rushed, careless diagnosis or an excuse for behavior. Sure to ruffle some feathers, ADHD Does Not Exist is provocative and pensive. --Tony Miksanek


“Parents will be better armed to ask more of the right questions after reading Saul’s book.” (Publisher's Weekly)

“Sure to ruffle some feathers, ADHD Does Not Exist is provocative and pensive.” (Booklist)

“A provocative, valuable guide for parents, school personnel and medical practitioners who deal with individuals showing symptoms routinely attributed to ADHD.” (Kirkus Review)

“…an accessible, detailed, and well-documented list of rule-outs for those who are exploring an ADHD diagnosis. VERDICT: Essential for parents and teachers.” (Library Journal)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Wave; 1 edition (February 18, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006226673X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062266736
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #374,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Richard Saul is a professor, clinician, researcher, and radio personality. For more than fifty years Dr. Saul has incorporated his clinical and academic experience into the practice of behavioral neurology and development. He served as the chairman of the department of pediatrics at Highland Park Hospital, and the medical director of an HMO in North Suburban Chicago. While working with the Health Systems Agency, a federal program, he was responsible for containing healthcare costs in Illinois.

Dr. Saul has been a Castle and Connolly Best Doctor in Chicago for the past ten years. His work has been applauded in US News & World Report. He is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Neurology, and the Society for Behavior and Development. He earned his M.D. at Chicago Medical School. He lives with his wife outside of Chicago.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 52 people found the following review helpful By BooksArePortableMagic on March 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover
The title is very misleading. Pretty much Dr. Saul explains what causes the symptoms of ADHD, not that ADHD doesn't exist at all.

The book talks mostly about ADHD in children as opposed to adults. I was looking for more information about ADHD in adults. Dr. Saul's explanation of the symptoms of ADHD in children is good but in adults it was severely lacking. ADHD presents itself differently in adults. I thought the chapter on sleep disorders chapters was best in regards to adult ADHD.

The chapter on mood disorders was good but lacking. I thought it focused far too much on bipolar disorder and not enough on unipolar depression. I was hoping for more of an explanation on how depression causes symptoms of ADHD beyond saying "depression makes you distracted."

The chapters on vision and hearing were excellent. My brother struggled with school terribly when he was a child. No one could figure out how to make him do better. This was before ADHD was common so he was never diagnosed with it. After being held back twice a doctor finally realized he needed tubes in his ears. It was life changing to say the least. His son just got tubes in his ears last month so it's definitely something genetic.

I found the chapter about iron deficiency useful although if iron deficiency is the most common nutritional problem, why wasn't it given more significance in the book?

I'm sure the other chapters are good as well but because I have no background in learning disorders, schizophrenia, asperger's (and so on) it's hard for me to say one way or the other.

What I found most baffling of all was the chapter on neurochemical distractability/impulsivity. Dr. Saul writes that NDI is NOT a formal diagnosis and does not appear in the medical books. What!?
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jerome on June 1, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
This book represents a very cynical ploy by the publisher (owned by Rubert Murdoch, who also owns Fox News) to exploit the public's worst fears about ADHD. This neurologist is a virtual unknown, plucked from the medical backwaters to be the national voice of fear-mongering about ADHD. He graduated from medical school in 1961, and even then he cannot have been too rigorous: As a reference for his claims about vision disorders that he claims are mistaken for ADHD, he offers Lenscrafters. If that does not take your breath away, what will? Imagine seeking to counter thousands of scientists and published papers by citing a company that makes eyeglasses and contact lenses.

In truth, Saul would take us all back to the 1940s, when ADHD's physically concomitant problems (central auditory processing disorder, reading-comprehension deficits, etc.) are recognized as separate disorders and treated with methods that don't work. The examples he offers would make me wince in embarrassment for him were he not so arrogantly, dangerously ignorant. For example, he devotes several pages to sensory integration disorder. This is well known as a condition co-existing to ADHD. That is, when the ADHD is treated medically, the sensory integration issues typically improve.

But Saul fails to understand the connection between dopamine and sensory problems (as well as the host of other conditions he details). He advises a woman to get sensory disorder therapy for her child. Then he's pleased to find that they've found a support group to help them "cope" with the lifelong difficulties she will encounter. He takes great satisfaction in directing this mother and child to minimize their expectations.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Gabrielle Zdep on November 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
From my book review blog, which you can find at

Hi readers! My next review is on "ADHD Does not Exist" by Dr. Richard Saul. It was going to be on Stephen King's "Light and the Glass", but this book was a quicker read. Also, I have ADHD.

Here's a link to look at "ADHD Does Not Exist" on Amazon. I'm really torn on this book. I'd give it 2 or 3 out of 5 stars, but again, it was a complicated book to read / review.

Dr. Saul draws on about 50 years of experience as a physician and develops the conclusion that ADHD is not ACTUALLY a real condition. Instead, he argues, the symptoms of ADHD may be the symptoms of as many as twenty other disorders, illnesses or conditions. These include, among other things: hearing or vision problems, "not getting enough sleep", substance abuse problems, bipolar disorder, Aspergers disorder, giftedness, among others such as allergies and vitamin deficiency, such as iron, which can be common. He uses anecdotal evidence from different patients he's seen over the years who did not, in fact, have ADHD.

I'm going to split this entry into what I did not agree with, and why, and what I did agree with, and why. And then a part about the not-great writing.

The Good:

Dr. Saul does recognize that ADHD is HIGHLY overdiagnosed and its almost a go-to label to slap on a kid and throw stimulants at him sometimes. It happens all the time. It might be happening to someone I know, which I am not thrilled about. I don't think that any kid under the age of 7 should be treated with something as strong as stimulants. THEIR BRAINS ARE STILL DEVELOPING FOR GODSSAKES. Give him a chance! Anyway...
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